Zero Waste

Reliance on recycling has not been sufficient to produce zero waste and in addition recycling has become overly corporatized with the root causes of waste left unaddressed since it is not in corporate interests. Recycling is adequate for cans, bottles, paper and cardboard.

Nature uses and reuses everything through continual recycling, while in industrial recycling the profit motive subverts the supposed goal. We should pattern our use of resources after nature in sustainable cycles. However, about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or thrown away. Reasons range from poor planning, logistical difficulties, greed, and aversion to the look of the food. In 2017, the average person in North America threw away 255 pounds of food annually compared with 13-25 lb in developing countries. Single use plastic items often end up in landfills or exported overseas rather than being recycled.

California alone produces more waste than the whole of China. We squander our resources through wasteful practices like excessive packaging, and throw away useful resources by burying them in massive and useless landfills.

Nearly all CalRecycle waste and recycling regulations are found in Title 14 and Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). In January 2010, CalRecycle was created from a merger of the Department of Conservation, Division of Recycling and the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB). Regulations approved before 2010 refer to CIWMB, CalRecycle’s predecessor, and those created after January 2010 refer to CalRecycle but all are in effect unless noted as “repealed”.

The Green Party believes focus on waste minimization and reuse of items will get us closer to zero waste. GPCA recommends to:

• Stop planned obsolescence. It promotes waste and the need for recycling. This has always been a corporate strategy to ensure profits. Design and produce high quality goods that are durable, repairable and reusable
• Rapidly phase out composites and other materials that cannot be reused or biodegraded; except where medically necessary or necessary for A.D.A. compliance
• Educate our children and the public on the benefits of zero waste and conservation, especially relative to food, use of energy, personal practices, and in purchasing goods.
• Encourage all businesses to minimize their use of `virgin' resources, replacing them with reusable//recycled/biodegradable resources.
• Simplify procedures that let people choose not to receive junk mail and messages.
• Legislate limitations in packaging and impose penalties for wasteful packaging.
• Legislate against burning of tires (tire-derived fuels) in manufacturing. [see Protection of the Atmosphere plank]
• Standardize containers to make their reuse easier.
• Restructure garbage rates to encourage reduction in the volume of waste.
• Educate all to use and purchase what is needed to minimize waste and resource useage.
• Educate all about the different types of wastes (e.g. solid waste, universal waste, hazardous waste and measures of waste minimization such as segregation of recyclables, compostables, and reusables and the banning of single-use nonbiodegradable plastic consumer items (except where medically necessary or necessary for A.D.A. compliance.)
• Emphasize plant-based diets since their wastes are biodegradable and compostable and because livestock farming causes about 15% of global greenhouse-gas emissions
• Minimize the disposal of waste by combustion processes in order to slow the progress of climate change.

Title 14:
Title 27:
Tire recycling link:

Zero Waste Platform Plank as approved by the San Francisco General Assembly in May 18, 2019